Inexpensive, stiff-bristled paint brushes--in a variety of widths--are a great addition to the cleaning tote. Use them to dust the tops of books, whisk dirt from baseboards and corners, clean dust from blinds, and remove crumbs from upholstery.
Necessary stored items get first claim on a home. Match tools and hardware with the garage shelf and toolbox.
Assign seasonal decorations to an each-to-reach area in the attic. Luggage may live under beds or in a guestroom closet.
Using the list of available storage areas, give each worthwhile item a good home.
You're smiling! There are lots of these items on your list. Good! Now you have the energy to deal with the other half of your "stuff" list: stored clutter that may need to be banished.
Are you giving house room to items like these? Good candidates for banishment include:
In phase two, these items will be Banished. Methods include donation to charity, holding a yard sale, or hauling them all to the dump, but the goal is the same: get them out of your limited storage space to make room for the legitimate stored items.
Look over your list and circle Banishment Candidates with a big red pen. Resolve to move them out, finally and forever. No pity, no mercy. It's your storage space (and sanity!) at stake.
Then, there's the "let's negotiate" category. These are stored items that might appear to be worthy of banishment, but someone in the family has an interest in them. This tricky category includes items like:
For "let's negotiate" items, a confab is in order with the interested party. Goal: eliminate, reduce or accept the necessity of storing each class of item.
Can the adult child collect some or all of his things? Will the sew-a-holic agree to purge and sort her stash to a more manageable level? Perhaps one spouse will have to accept the other's devotion to those warped LPs, and find a ground-level storage solution for all those heavy boxes. However you resolve it, work out ways to turf (or accept) these negotiable items.
The goal: a clear storage plan. Know what you must store and where you will store it. Write it down, and get ready for step B!
You know what storage space is available. You know which belongings should be stored there.
So what? Every closet, shelf and cupboard is groaning with out-of-place stuff.
Time to Banish and Box--the working phase of setting up efficient household storage.
Shelf-by-shelf, room-by-room, you're going to rout out your storage areas.
Working one area at a time, you'll pull out currently stored stuff, sort it out, banish the rejects, and box everything that belongs elsewhere. Only then do you put away the designated stored items.